How Divorce Mediation Works in Connecticut
Working with, not around, the family court system
Although mediation is designed to take the place of court hearings, couples who choose this form of alternative dispute resolution must still go through the court system to get an order dissolving their marriage.
At our first meeting, I explain the process, including how each spouse should prepare for the mediation sessions, what to do about filing a Complaint and/or an Answer in the court, and other procedural requirements. If the couple agrees to proceed with mediation, we schedule our first session. Prior to each session I advise what paperwork, if any is necessary so a detailed discussion of the scheduled issues can ensue. That paperwork might include tax filings, checking and savings account statements, IRA and 401(k) statements, their children’s schedule for school and activities, children’s medical records, expense records, and other pertinent documents. Each spouse should come prepared with a list of goals for how he or she wants the issue decided. The parties discuss their goals, and I guide the discussion toward an agreement that respects both parties’ interests and the best interests of their children.
Sessions continue until all ancillary issues — alimony, child custody, child support, and property division — are settled or until it’s clear further progress on open issues is unlikely. At that point I memorialize the parties’ agreement in a marital settlement document to present to the court for approval.
If you are hoping to reduce the time, expense and stress of your divorce, mediation is the answer.
The advantages of working with an attorney mediator
There are no state licensing requirements in Connecticut for divorce and family law mediators, and no requirement that a divorce mediator be an attorney. Private organizations, such as the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, set standards for membership, but Connecticut has no requirement that a mediator meet these standards. Therefore, couples looking for a divorce mediator can choose from a wide array of mediators with very different backgrounds.
At the Divorce Mediation Center, we believe it is important for divorcing and separating couples to choose a mediator who is also a family law attorney. A trained, licensed and experienced attorney can fully understand the legal ramifications of issues in a way that mediators from other educational or professional backgrounds may not. When an attorney mediator memorializes your divorce or separation agreement, you can expect a higher standard of legal drafting than you would get from a non-attorney mediator. This saves you the time and expense of having both a mediator and an attorney involved and minimizes the chance that a judge would find the settlement agreement deficient in some regard.
Our goal is to provide the highest and most professional level of divorce mediation possible, from your initial meeting with us to your dissolution, saving you time and expense in the process.
Contact Attorney Ferrante today
To learn more about our divorce and separation mediation services, schedule a consultation. Call the Divorce Mediation Center of Ridgefield/Danbury, LLC at 203-791-3868 or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Danbury and Stamford.